Mountain biking is all about having fun, right? About getting out there, enjoying the great outdoors, exercising your body and freeing your mind. So what if we told you there was a type of bike that lets you ride further, faster, and have even more fun? One that even made you LOL on the climbs? You’d still have to work for your rewards, but by assisting your efforts, it allowed you to wring every little drop of enjoyment out of your rides.
250-WH of Hobby King LiPo, $3,000 spent in parts with a carbon frame (It would be $1,000 cheaper and only 2 pounds heavier with an aluminum frame). This bike was home-built by Kepler who decided to sell his modified 50mph Stealth Bomber and build this bike with the funds. Read our article on the Super Commuter and Keplers decision to go with a lightweight ebike.
More and more people are switching to electric bikes for a lot of practical reasons. It provides convenience because you do not have to wait in traffic or look for the perfect parking spot. That saves you time and money for gas. As for health benefits, you can squeeze in some exercise and manually pedal your way to work then switch to the electric motor when you get tired.
In our view, e-bikes are approaching a crossroads in concept and design. Heading off in one direction are longer travel, enduro-style e-bikes, which are largely designed for cruising up and then blasting back down. Plotting a slightly different course is the idea of a lightweight model that rides much more like a normal mountain bike, but requires more work from the rider. Of the two approaches, both have their benefits, but it’s the latter that gets us the most excited. Once the overall weight falls into the 16-17kg range (the lightest bikes are currently19-20kg) it’s going to be really hard to tell the difference between an e-bike and a regular trail bike on the descents and the flat, but you get the benefit of a gentle push up the climbs.
The extra grip a 50lb e-bike normally helps to prevent overshooting corners when on the brakes, and bring pure DH-bike-like fun factor on the steepest trails. This electric Orange, however, rides more like a ‘standard’ enduro bike with a motor, which could be good or bad, depending on your expectations and riding style. It’s built tough and delivers stacks of fun in less time than any regular bike can. Adding a motor hasn’t upset Orange’s superb geometry.
Bosch’s flagship mountain bike system uses a mini drive ring with internal gearing to send its power to the drivetrain. There’s some resistance in the system over 25km/h, but when you first press down on the pedals there’s an impressive surge of power, and it offers good support over a wide cadence range. Its size has an impact on the width of the cranks (the Q-factor) as well as the chainstay length of the frame, and it’s not the lightest system on the market at 4kg for the motor. On the other hand, Bosch is the most established player on the market, and its system has proven itself over many years.
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The XF800 comes with a high-powered motor (1000W and 48V) that works on three levels – Twisting Throttle to get the electric power at the full force, Pedal Assist, and completely Turn Off the power. The 7-speed Shimano shifter is great for experimenting at various speeds while the dual-suspension, wider tires, and hydraulic disc brakes ensure a bump-free smooth ride.
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Nakto City Electric Bike is designed for urban commuting, it is fast, comfortable and convenient. This is a perfect utility bike; you can use it to run errands, go to the grocery store, go to work, or just a leisure ride. It is equipped with all the features you would want for riding around town, such as LED headlight, a rear cargo rack, a cargo basket and a kickstand.
While it was agile and quicker handling, the Specialized Turbo Levo Comp lost ground in this rating metric due to the somewhat abrupt pedal assist cutoff that occurred the moment you stop pedaling. This abrupt power cutoff caused awkward moves in slower technical uphill sections when jockeying pedals to avoid rock strikes. The Bulls E-Stream had power for days and could mash its way up just about anything, but its overall weight and size made it a little more awkward in slower or more technical sections of climbing. The Trek Powerfly had a long wheelbase, reach, and chainstay length, giving the bike a long rear end that kept impressive traction while climbing as long as you kept your momentum, the overall length of the bike, however, made it a little tougher to negotiate in the tighter stuff.
Many retailers suggest charging the battery at least once a month if the bike is not ridden much, and say that the more the bike is ridden, the stronger the battery will be. All batteries, though, will deteriorate in time and they will need to be replaced and disposed. When that time comes, it’s best to ask your local retailer how to dispose of the battery, but bear in mind that local authorities should provide recycling and disposal facilities.
The electric motor is located just above the bottom-bracket, and it assists him with a range of power from 250-watts up to 400-watts, applied directly to the outer chainring. The power is not activated by pedaling through a pedelec sensor like many commercial E-bikes available in Europe. Instead, he chose to use a thumb throttle, which he has hidden under a classic bicycle bell.
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Jan, I disagree with your carry as a prime reason/not be looking at e bikes. My primary reason for an e assist is age and medical problems. Carting a heavy bike around, trying to lift it onto a vehicle would not work, and riding from home is not a possibility. I know there are light-weight e bikes out there. Price, within reason, is not a big concern. Need a 2018 update. E bikes are common in Europe, will eventually be more mainstream in the US.
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The LT or long travel line that Haibike is one of the most interesting developments in electric mountain biking in quite some time. I’ve chosen the FullSeven LT 4.0 because I wanted to show you another quality, low-cost option. The FullSeven line is built a little less aggressively than the AllMtn series, but still functions as a great all-around mountain bike for those riders who want to hit fire roads, and maybe the occasional single-track trail. The coolest thing about the LT line is that it costs exactly the same as the standard FullSeven line that comes with 120mm of travel. You can upgrade to 150mm on any FullSeven bike for no extra cost.
The Bulls E-Stream EVO AM 4 is a new addition to our electric mountain bike test and it didn't take long for our testers to fall in love with this new contender. This bike comes ready to rumble with a beefy enduro ready build with 150mm of front and rear wheel travel controlled by a stout RockShox Lyrik fork up front. Testers found this bike to come alive at speed with stable and confidence inspiring trail manners that preferred to go fast, and big 2.8-inch wide Schwalbe tires that provided heaps of traction. Bulls has done a good job designing this beast, with a powerful and smooth Brose drive unit cleanly integrated into the frame along with a large 650Wh battery. The motor lays down very smooth power in all of its output settings and is one of the quietest models we tested. The large battery storage capacity provides the longest distance range of all the models in the test so you can stay out longer and ride farther than on models with smaller batteries. The e-bike controls have relatively good ergonomics and an easy to read display.
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